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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that each episode of this voyeuristic reality series -- which revolves around couples on the brink of divorce -- includes scenes of the feuding couples yelling and arguing with each other and, at times, with the counselors who are trying to help them. The show goes on to air the couples' dirty laundry, which often includes disturbing problems like infidelity, drug use, and domestic violence (images of abused spouses are shown).
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What's the story?
Hosted by Judge of Lynn Toler of Divorce Court, DECISION HOUSE aims to help couples on the brink of divorce decide to whether they're going to make their marriage work or end it altogether. In each episode, a couple in crisis is locked inside a house and videotaped for three days. During their voluntary 72-hour confinement, psychologists provide counseling and monitor their progress and the couple meets with mediators, financial planners, and, on occasion, family members. The couple also checks in periodically with Toler, who reminds them that at the end of their stay they must decide whether they're going to stay together or get a divorce.
Is it any good?
Insults, arguments, violence, and tears are all part of the drama as couples proceed to air their dirtiest laundry. Conversations about infidelity and lack of intimacy are frequent, but even more disturbing are the conversations about spousal abuse, some of which include graphic details and photographs.
The series is full of free-wheeling, talk show-style advice. But aside from offering viewers some limited advice about financial planning and divorce mediation, the show is nothing more than a Big Brother-like exercise in voyeurism that presents the pain of a failing marriage as fodder for reality TV.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether reality TV can go too far. Are there lines that shouldn't be crossed? Who determines where those lines fall? What is the appeal of a reality show like this one? Families can also discuss the difficulties associated with marriage and divorce. Why are some couples able to work out their problems while others end up divorced? How can couples who get divorced best handle the situation for their families?